3D printing may be all about building physical objects, but we use a lot of software to get there. Over the past few weeks, we have seen major updates to many of the most vital packages that we use to operate our 3D printers.
Ultimaker has released version 15.06 of its popular slicing and printer control software, Cura. This new release includes numerous updates wrapped in a new simplified user interface. An update to the support generation algorithm in Cura engine promises a great improvement to the support structures generated by the package.
An exciting new experimental feature, called Wire Printing, looks to be a long-desired implementation of the university research project WirePrint. This feature allows users to rapidly create prototypes that imitate the size and feel of an object by printing connecting lines to form triangles that create the structure of the model.
Unfortunately, this version comes with a big drawback. Cura has always been a great software option for any printer that will accept straight G-code like most open source RepRap-based machines. The new Cura, however, has removed support for easily importing those machines.
Slic3r has released its first update in ten months. This update not only greatly improves Slic3r’s user interface but has also followed in their communities’ tradition of creating innovative features not found in other slicing applications.
Where Slic3r had previously been missing a 3D view of the objects it was preparing to slice, the new Slic3r includes multiple views for users to better preview how their models will print. Users can now preview both the platter and tool paths in 2d and 3d views.
The new 3 dimensional honeycomb infill is the first of its kind to vary its pattern across layers instead of repeating the same pattern. This could greatly increase the strength of the internal infill and your final print.
A fun new feature is direct integration with Octoprint. Now when files are sliced on the user’s desktop, they can easily be uploaded directly to the user’s Octoprint box with the click of a button.
Last week we announced that Formlabs had released its new Tough resin. They followed that release up with a new version of Preform to support this new resin formulation. To round out the release they also included support for four new languages: German, French, Japanese, and Chinese.
When it comes to prepping models to be printed, netfabb is a tool of choice for many users. While the free personal edition comes with many features like the ability to repair errors in STL files, the Pro version has tools many hobbyists would love to have access to. The release of netfabb 6 brings even more to the table.
The new stacking algorithm makes plating a breeze as it finds the most optimal placement of selected parts on the print bed. This feature makes long print jobs more efficient as very little space is wasted during the printing process.